"Should not be missed by anyone
wanting to experience a thoroughly enjoyable delve into history and, more importantly, a great piece of
character acting."



“A truly remarkable performance.
Roy Dotrice is superb.”




“Delicious, outrageous and incredible. Magically performed by Roy Dotrice.”


Yvonne Arnaud Theatre


“Everything is here – wit, farce, tragedy, pathos, often bawdy, frequently uproariously funny. A truly delightful entertainment. Roy Dotrice is quite magnificent.”

Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
27 September 2008

Magnificently entertaining...
Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold
19 September 2008
Victor Hallett for

Brief Lives at the Theatre Royal, Windsor
21 March 2008
The Times

Dotrice, 84, revives record-breaking one-man show
27 February 2008
Evening Standard

Roy's Brilliant in Brief Lives
22 February 2008
Mid Sussex Times

"Roy Dotrice’s performance is funny, engaging and well planned"
12 February 2008
BBC Essex

Roy Dotrice's
piece de

08 February 2008
East Anglian
Daily News


If you think tabloid tales
of sex
in high places
are a modern thing,
think again.
  Roy Dotrice as John Aubrey

Roy Dotrice in the 2008 Revival...

Join John Aubrey, reclusive antiquarian, as he takes you on a nostalgic journey through history and gives his unique take on days gone by including all the bits the history books missed out on! Which globe-trotting courtier took a maiden's honour against a tree?

Which eminent scientist kept a pretty young wench to wait on him? And which famous playwrights didn't only share a love of writing? No one is spared in this stupendous series of anecdotes about the personalities of his time. Oliver Cromwell, William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh and even the Virgin Queen herself are not exempt from Aubrey’s acerbic and hysterical gossip.

Patrick Garland’s triumphant adaptation of the Memoirs, Miscellanies, Letters and Jottings of John Aubrey paint a unique portrait of the time and the inspired use of true theatricality makes this production a must-see.

This brand new production reunites one of the UK’s leading directors, Patrick Garland (The Mystery of Charles Dickens, Visiting Mr Green) and Emmy, Tony and BAFTA Award Winner, Roy Dotrice (Amadeus, The Best of Friends) who shared the success of the record-breaking original production which was unanimously proclaimed as one of the greatest performances in the history of theatre on both sides of the Atlantic.

- excerpt from the Richmond Theatre Website

Richmond and Twickenham News
Antiquarian's roadshow

28th March 2008 By Nancy Groves

Roy Dotrice as John AubreyBucks Free Press
Roy Dotrice reprises role in Brief Lives

13th MARCH 2008 By Francine Wolfisz

Two Old Stagers Find Vigour In Brief Lives


Spectator's Tim Walker talks to the theatrical veterans Roy Dotrice and Patrick Garland about their long-awaited return
to the work of John Aubrey.


Roy's star quality

09 March 2008

Mandrake salutes Roy Dotrice, who, after falling from the stage during a rehearsal for Brief Lives at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester and passing out, insisted on going on that night.

At 84, that's not bad, and now the trouper is bringing the revival - it got him into the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running one-man show - to the Theatre Royal, Windsor from March 17. "They just don't make 'em like that any more," says his proud director, Patrick Garland.

- excerpt by Tim Walker with Richard Eden for The Telegraph

Dotrice opens Brief Lives at Criterion

25 February 2008

Roy Dotrice took a step to Guinness world record fame on 25 February 1969, when the award-winning actor opened in Brief Lives at the Criterion. His 400 performances at this venue, combined with other touring credits, saw Dotrice claim a world record for most solo performances with a total of 1,782.

Brief Lives had premiered two years earlier at the Hampstead theatre and spent two seasons on Broadway before making its West End bow at the Criterion. Dotrice played 17th century gossip John Aubrey, who shared his views and titbits of information about many important Elizabethan figures with the audience. Among those remembered anecdotally were Oliver Cromwell, William Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh and even Elizabeth I. The piece was adapted by Patrick Garland from The Memoirs, Miscellanies, Letters And Jottings Of John Aubrey.

More than forty years after the production was originally seen, Dotrice, now into his 80s, has revived the show and is touring once more. Brief Lives can be seen in Richmond this March.

Dotrice, born in Guernsey in 1923, was introduced to the idea of performing when he was shot down during World War II, taken as a prisoner of war and found himself entertaining fellow POWs to lift spirits. On his release, he pursued his acting dream, working at various rep companies before joining the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (later to become the Royal Shakespeare Company) in 1957. He stayed with the company for nine years, honing his craft alongside actors such as Paul Robeson, Sam Wanamaker, Peter O’Toole, Charles Laughton, Albert Finney and Laurence Olivier. He also introduced baseball to the cricket-loving company.

Dotrice’s career has included award wins at the 1969 BAFTAs for Misleading Cases and the 2000 Tony Awards for his performance in A Moon For The Misbegotten on Broadway. More recently Dotrice returned to Hampstead in 2006 to star in Best Of Friends opposite Patricia Routledge and Michael Pennington, for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. He was given an OBE in the 2008 New Year Honours List.

– MA, for the Official London Theatre Guide



Dotrice brings Aubrey back to London

07 Jan 2008

Forty years after he first originated the role in the West End, veteran actor Roy Dotrice, recently awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, is to revive his performance as John Aubrey in Brief Lives at Richmond theatre in March as part of a short UK tour.

Dotrice first played the role in Patrick Garland’s one-man play at Hampstead Theatre Club in 1967. Following a Broadway run it opened at the West End’s Criterion theatre in 1968. Now Dotrice recreates his performance as reclusive antiquarian Aubrey, who takes audiences on a nostalgic journey through history, relating a series of anecdotes about everyone from Cromwell to Shakespeare, Raleigh to Elizabeth I.

Dotrice was last on the London stage in 2006, appearing alongside Patricia Routledge in Hugh Whitemore’s The Best Of Friends at Richmond and Hampstead. In addition to Brief Lives his extensive West End credits include Great Expectations, The Passion Of Dracula, Suez, Mother Adam and Oliver!, while on Broadway he starred in Mister Lincoln, A Life, Kingdoms, Hay Fever, The Homecoming and Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon For The Misbegotten in 2000, for which he won a Tony Award. His film and UK television credits include Amadeus, The Cutting Edge, The Scarlet Letter, Life Begins and The Caretaker.

This new stage production of Brief Lives is expected to open in the West End following a five-venue UK tour which ends at Richmond from 25-29 March.

- excerpt by CB for The Official London Theatre Guide




Roy Dotrice Sets New Records in
Brief Lives Revival

03 January 2008

More than 40 years after he originated the role, Roy Dotrice - who was awarded an OBE this week in the New Year’s Honours List (See News, 2 Jan 2008) - will revive his performance as 17th-century author and antiquarian John Aubrey in the one-man play Brief Lives. The production, which is once again directed by the play’s author Patrick Garland, opens on 7 February 2008 at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre ahead of a brief regional tour and planned West End transfer. ...Following Colchester, Brief Lives visits Brighton, Lincoln and Richmond, where its tour schedule concludes on 29 March 2008. Dates and venue details for the West End run have not yet been announced. The production is designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Colin Wood, and is presented by Ian Fricker and Chris Moreno.

- excerpt by Terri Paddock for What'sOnStage




More about the original
production and DVD....


The Guardian


Don't miss


Roy Dotrice's Triumph

New York Times



Should not
be missed

Evening Standard



Magical Entertainment

Daily Telegraph


Roy Dotrice as John Aubrey



Roy's Return

Roy Dotrice's OBE


In the citation he received with his OBE in the New Year's honours, Roy Dotrice says mention was made of his performance as John Aubrey in Brief Lives. "That was 34 years ago," the great actor laughs. "They must clearly have had to consider it very carefully indeed."

He played the 17th-century wit for 1,782 performances and it made a huge impression on, among others, the late Daily Telegraph obituarist Hugh Massingberd, who said it inspired his anecdotal style of journalism.

Now aged 84, Dotrice will reprise the role in a production directed by Patrick Garland at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester next month. Dotrice says he had been working on it with his wife until her recent death. "She didn't like the way I'd changed the role. I promised her I would go back to basics and I will."

- excerpt by Tim Walker with Richard Eden for The Telegraph

Roy Dotrice as John Aubrey



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